Shoe polish products are low-value items that are infrequently purchased, as a single can might last several months for even the most frequent user. Consumer demand is inelastic and largely insensitive to price change, while sales volumes are generally low. In the shoe polish market as a whole, some 26% of turnover is accounted for by pastes, 24% by creams, 23% by aerosols, and 13% by liquids. In recent years, the demand for shoe polish products has either been static or declined; one reason is the gradual replacement of formal footwear with sneakers for everyday use.
There are numerous branded products available, as well as generic store brands. There are two chief areas of shoe polish sales: to the general public, and to specialists and trade, such as shoe repairers, and cobblers. The sales percentages between the two outlets are roughly comparable.
Kiwi remains the predominant shoe polish brand in most of the world, being sold in over 180 countries and holding a 53% market share worldwide. Today, it is manufactured in Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other leading brands include Kelly's, Shinola, Lincoln Shoe Polish, Meltonian, Angelus, and Cherry Blossom.
Kiwi was acquired by the American company Sara Lee following its purchase of Reckitt and Colman in 1991 and Knomark with its brand Esquire Shoe Polish in 1987. The Federal Trade Commission ruled that Sara Lee had to divest its ownership of these companies in 1994 to prevent it from becoming a monopoly. Since this ruling, Sara Lee has been prevented from acquiring any further assets or firms associated with chemical shoe care products in the United States without prior commission approval. The Competition Commission in the United Kingdom investigated the potential monopoly of Sara Lee in the shoe care industry.
Empty shoe polish bottles can be used to create graffiti, by dumping out the polish inside and filling it full of ink or paint. They are used as a cheap alternative to markers designed for graffiti, and are much more widely available.
 Composition and toxicology
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